Ceremony Remembers Local WWI Veterans

November 11, 2018
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Ceremony Remembers Local WWI Veterans

WILKES-BARRE — Dozens gathered at the East End Towers on Saturday morning for a re-dedication ceremony for a plaque honoring local men and women who served in World War I.

The ceremony — timed to coincide with the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended the Great War — recognized the service of hundreds of East End residents who served in the war.

“We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the armistice, the end of World War I — the Great War that was supposed to end all wars,” said the Rev. Kevin Mulhern, who is originally from the neighborhood. “Ten of them died, but 320 went over out of this small section of town, which is amazing.”

The plaque was originally dedicated at the No. 8 Firehouse on Scott Street in 1920, and was later moved to Mackin Elementary School. But then when the school closed down for a number of years, the plaque was in need of a new home.

“This was the last public building that was available, so we put it on the wall here in East End,” Mulhern said. “We wanted the names to remain in East End.”

The ceremony featured cadets from the King’s College Reserve Officer Training Corps reading off the list of 320 names, accompanied by a tolling bell. The now-departed service members were also commemorated by a three-volley rifle salute and singing by the Wyoming Valley Barbershop Harmony Chorus.

James Morpeth, a 20-year chorus member and tenor, said the re-dedication had special meaning for him. Until recently, he had been unaware the plaque contained the names of his uncle, Embelton Stewart Morpeth of Worrall Street and his second cousin Embelton Thomas Morpeth of Kidder Street.

“It’s something that’s so meaningful,” said Morpeth, an East End resident who attended Mackin. “These are family history points that you never knew about and when you find out about them you’re just so thrilled. And may they rest in peace.”

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